Tata Mandela celebrates his 93rd birthday today. His life and dedication to the public’s well being has been a symbol for us to trust that we have the capacity to make changes in our life that leads to freedom and positive transformation. Giving life to metaphors. On Sunday, July 17th, the city of Cape Town hosted the Ubuntu Festival. Activities were bustling on St. George’s Mall & Church St and on the ground level of the Mandela Rhodes Place.
A festival that bridges the city’s diverse spirit had independent locally produced food and farm stalls and young local DJ’s and muso’s that delivered positively hip bass-bumping beats from the Red Bull converted land cruiser turned DJ booth. I especially enjoyed GoldTooth’s vocals that dripped like honey off the amp.
Inside the Mandela Rhodes Place, festival attendants could give 67 minutes of their time (The number of years Mandela dedicated to public service) to wash, peel, and chop vegetables for soup that was being made for the city’s shelters. The Charity Cook and Chop had tables of donated vegetables from Shoprite surrounded by tables of chopping boards, knives and peelers that were populated by shifts of about 50 people at a time. Everyone was in a meditative state, getting into the rhythm of chopping onions, or peeling carrots. Some people confessed it was a therapeutic activity to prepare the food together, peel, cut and chop and watch the crates fill with all the chopped vegetables.
Craig Anderson, the Chief Chef at Mandela Rhodes Place led the kitchen logistics of transforming the ingredients into soup. A call for volunteers to stir and cook was announced over the upbeat radio pop songs that were provided by 94.5 Kfm when the Chef needed to quickly prepare the dinner shift for the restaurant upstairs. “Just take a look around you!” exclaimed Craig Anderson, “It’s great! All this soup will be picked up by Red Cross at 5pm to be delivered to the city’s shelters” So much love was being put into this communal cooking event and it wasn’t the first or last time the Charity Cook was going to happen.
Outside along Church St and St. George’s Mall, the Earth Fair Food Market curated the stalls that served traditional Umngqusho and Vetkoek, free-range biltong, farm-cured olives and preserves, Chinese spring rolls, a variety of fragrant curries, chilli bites, freshly juiced apples and beetroot, savory pies, and sublime local wine and beers at The Laughing Crocodile Bar.
The Ubuntu Festival celebrated the beautiful struggle of freedom, bringing dancing vibrations and nutritious food together in our public city centre to commemorate communities celebrating together in a democratic South Africa. With the spirit of Ubuntu in all of us-Happy Birthday Madiba!